Omot takes Alford plea for attempted murder charge; Pleads guilty to other criminal charges
Published 7:16 am Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Kuoviy Kwot Omot, 22, of Austin pleaded guilty to felony second-degree attempted murder-with intent-not premeditated as part of a plea agreement on Monday in Mower County District Court. He initially pleaded not guilty to the charge on May 12, 2017.
The plea was an Alford plea, meaning Omot still proclaims his innocence for the crime while admitting the prosecution has enough evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This allows him to accept a plea bargain for a lesser sentence than he would receive if he was convicted during the trial.
Four other felony counts will be dismissed at the sentencing, according to the plea agreement.
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Omot was arrested on March 22, 2017, in connection to a drug deal turned robbery attempt that occurred on Jan. 27, 2017, at the Western Manor Apartments in Austin. A man was shot in the leg during the incident. Court documents state that police found bloodstains and a 9mm shell casing at the scene. Several residents at the apartments told police they heard a gunshot.
An officer drove to the emergency room of Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin and noticed a vehicle following the squad car. When the officer arrived, the vehicle stopped and the victim exited the back seat. The victim told the officer that the gunman fired two shots and thought he had hit him once. He also said there were two subjects trying to “get weed” or rob him before he was shot. The victim was later transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea for surgery.
Police were able to piece together details of the incident from talks with the victim and witnesses, along with surveillance videos. The victim and another man met Omot and “Phabayo” (later identified as Phabayo Nygare Gilo) outside Unit One of Western Manor to buy marijuana, but Gilo and Omot tried to get the victim’s money. He had $1,809 in his wallet, police found during the investigation.
Court documents state Gilo told Omot to shoot the victim during the altercation. The other man drove the victim to the hospital.
A resident of the Western Manor Apartments found a second 9mm shell casing a few days later.
One witness told police that Gilo told him Omot had shot someone, and he said Omot owned a 9mm pistol, which he’d previously pulled on another person. He suspected Gilo and Omot wanted to rob the victim “because that’s what they do,” according to court documents.
The victim was able to pick Omot out of a photo array, but not Gilo. However, police matched prints from Gilo’s shoes, taken while he was in jail on another case, to prints found at the scene.
Omot refused to give his name when he was arrested on March 22, 2017; however, police were able to make a positive identification from a photograph they had of him, court documents state.
Omot also pleaded guilty on Monday to felony possession of firearm ammunition by a person convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a crime of violence and to felony first-degree tampering with a witness, both from separate incidents.
According to court documents, police executed a search warrant on a blue BMW sedan registered to Omot on March 28, 2017. They found and seized a full box of 9mm Luger ammunition.
Court documents also state that on May 9, Omot and fellow inmate Naney Kwot Omot, 23, of Austin, entered another inmates cell and assaulted him. The victim was a witness in Omot’s attempted murder trial.
Naney Omot was also charged in the incident. He pleaded guilty on July 23.
A review of Kuoviy Omot’s criminal history shows juvenile incidents for second-degree assault, second-degree burglary, possession of a firearm and first-degree burglary from 2007 to 2015.
He will be sentenced at a later date.